Anyone starting out as a programmer should keep in mind that programming is more than just the simple act of "coding". It’s necessary to always gather additional knowledge and acquire new skills in order to grow as a programmer.
Here are some tips for you:
Think like a User
Remember that you have to be a good user to be a good developer. Having experience with the user’s end of the process gives you an understanding of user needs and what you can do to meet those needs as effectively and thoroughly as possible.
Know your Toolset
Know which tools are available to you as you work to solve problems. What kind of editor is best for this situation? How do I test my code? Consider these and other questions before writing even a single line of code.
As a developer, your job is to write good code, but you can’t write good code if you don’t know what good code looks like. Also, reading code enables you to quickly spot other developers’ mistakes, and this is helpful if you do code review or pair programming.
Keep it Simple
"If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein
Writing long code all day doesn’t make you a good programmer; all it does is make your code unnecessarily complicated. As you come across problems, the process for solving them will be difficult – and more time consuming - than you may expect.
Typically when a developer is faced with a problem, it helps to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces to help make it easier to understand. The next step is to integrate your solution into the code.
Keeping it simple shouldn’t be confused with "quick and dirty". You still have to work with care and cover all bases!
Practice – and Mistakes are Allowed!
"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice."
- Anton Chekhov
Keep practicing. The more you code, the better you’re going to get. You will also make more mistakes, which is a positive thing, because you’ll learn from your mistakes, and they’ll lead to even more practice, allowing you to hone your craft even further.
Learn Multiple Programming Languages
"A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing."
- Alan Perlis
There are hundreds of programming languages. Of course, it’s impossible to learn all of the languages, but learning as many as you can makes you aware of the different philosophies behind programming languages.
Never Stop Learning
I couldn’t find exactly who, but someone once said, "The day you stop learning should be the day you are no longer a programmer." This statement could refer to any and all professions, but when it comes to programming, continual learning is invaluable. To be a better programmer and stay marketable, you should ALWAYS be open to learning new techniques, even if you have 15 or 20 years of practice behind you.
See also: How to learn things faster
So if you truly want to improve your programming skills, never stop working on yourself. You will have the career you have dreamed of.